Monday, July 15, 2024

Crazy Cool Family: Along the way

With seven kids and over 30 years of parenting, my wife Suzanne and I now talk about our parenting not in years, but in decades. We are starting our fourth decade of parenting with our four older girls married, our oldest son engaged, the next son at the University of Arkansas, and the youngest son starting his first varsity Argyle football season. Five grandkids and two more on the way in the next several months. Let’s go!

At the end of the first decade, our lives looked so different; four little girls – the three boys came later. At that time I was coming to the realization that one, I didn’t have a clue how to parent little girls, and two, I better figure it out because I was going to have a big impact in their lives one way or another.

So at that point I decided to do two things:

  1. Learn all I could about how to do family.
  2. Give it all I have to be the best dad I could be.

The result? A lot of learning, a lot of mistakes, a lot of time, a lot of money (for sure!), and a lot of memories. And today as I look across the landscape of our family, I see a close-knit family anchored by Suzanne and seven kids who are connected to us and each other. It’s been worth all the effort.

And now – thanks to The Cross Timbers Gazette– Suzanne and I get to share with you some of the things we have learned “along the way.”

That’s actually a good place to start. “Along the way” has so many meanings in the world of family.

  • Our example to our family “along the way” is important.
  • We make our share of mistakes “along the way.”
  • We need to enjoy our children “along the way.”
  • Our children don’t learn everything at once, but they (hopefully) become wise “along the way.”

In the book of Deuteronomy in the Bible, Moses tells us, “These commandments I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 6:6-7)

This Scripture gives wise counsel. “These commandments” – the values we want to instill in our family – will become reality when we instill them “along the way.” We do it throughout our day – at home, in the car, at bedtime, in the morning, at a meal – so the values become not just words, but a part of our everyday life.

I don’t know how you are feeling right now, but when someone showed me that Scripture many years ago, it relaxed me as a parent in a good way. I didn’t have to lecture all the time, but rather I could look for opportunities to use life lessons to instill our family values. I learned how actually enjoying the different stages of life of my children was a way I could fill them with love. I understood life with my family was not about perfection but direction, and as long as my direction was good, our family values were being instilled at a good pace.

And finally, I am super excited Suzanne and I get to share with you “along the way” some of the things we have learned in our past few decades. Remember, learning from the mistakes of others is much cheaper!

Don & Suzanne Manning
Don & Suzanne Manning
Don & Suzanne Manning of Argyle have 30+ years’ experience parenting 7 kids. Their mission is to inspire and equip you to build your best family. Learn more at

Related Articles

Popular This Week